I mean, I’ve waited all day for all sorts of “nice guys finish last”, “that’s not what Saban does” or the always reliable “and that’s in addition to Georgia undersigning every year” comments here in response to this piece, and what do I get? Crickets.
Daily Archives: May 3, 2012
That’s the impression I get from this lengthy interview at Longhorn Digest.com (h/t Smart Football). In it, Diaz makes some excellent points about what you can take out of statistics, given certain limitations.
… many people judged defenses by the number of yards allowed, a stat called “total defense.” But the problem with total defense is that it doesn’t tell the total story, Diaz said.
“At N.C. State in ’04, we led the nation in total defense and we won five games. So there had to be something more to it than yards allowed, because yards allowed can be very deceiving,” Diaz said. “It’s really kind of flawed.”
Picture a team up by 20 points late in the game. That team is likely playing prevent defense, allowing the opponent to pick up easier yards by keeping the ball in front of the defense and limiting big plays. The other team racks up yards, hurting the winning team’s total defense. And the opposite is also true: if a defense is the side behind by 20 points, the opponent runs the ball into the line, making for easier stops, and therefore a better total defense, even if it doesn’t affect the game’s outcome.
Then, there are the issues with sample size and scheduling.
“The problem with college football is it’s actually the worst sport statistically because it’s such a small sample size and then [you have] the wide disparity of conference games versus non-conference games,” Diaz said. “The stats in terms of who finishes first in the country in total offense or total defense, a lot of that really has to do with scheduling.”
So what does he look at? Red zone touchdown efficiency, for one thing. (“You can win a national championship by making people kick field goals in the red zone,” Diaz said.) And for another, he pays attention to what some of those pajama-clad unshaven dudes are up to in their parents’ basements…
“I really think what’s happened, that is fantastic, is taking smart people plus computers plus too much free time,” Diaz said. “There are a lot of people doing outstanding work on the Internet.
“They’re taking the play-by-plays and adding more than just what the normal stats put out there,” Diaz said. “They’re not always on the right track, but sometimes they are. And that’s somewhat of a recent phenomenon.”
… specifically, “statistics like Slow Grind — the number of plays a defense forces an offense to take to score — and the FootballOutsiders.com S&P+ Ratings, a play-by-play success rate that factors for situation and competition.”
Grantham, by the way, comes off well and not so well when you look at some of these stats. Georgia was abysmal in red zone TD efficiency last season (88th nationally), so you hope that’s something he’s taking a close look at. Much better was Georgia’s 5th place ranking in S&P+, one slot behind Diaz’ Texas. Slow Grind is a stat John Pennington came up with; it’s simply a ratio of defensive plays to TDs. I ran last year’s numbers for the conference, subtracting out opponents’ TDs scored by punt and kickoff returns, and came up with these ratios:
- Alabama – 72
- LSU – 59.80
- MSU – 34.64
- USC – 32.12
- Vandy – 26.39
- UGA – 26.36
- UF – 25.70
- Arky – 25.33
- UK – 23.69
- UT – 23.50
- Auburn – 20.13
- Ole Miss – 16.45
Could be better, Georgia.
There’s something about merely raising this question which illustrates what I find offensive about Georgia’s outgoing president’s tenure. How many schools out there would even have a president in the mix in a discourse about their athletic programs? You’d think that’s a discussion which would be directed more appropriately at coaches and athletic directors.
But not at Georgia.
I suppose that’s a legacy in and of itself, and it’s an example of the self-aggrandizement which has marked his time in Athens. But to answer Chip Towers’ question more directly, I’d have to say that even if Michael Adams had otherwise lived the life of a selfless saint, his actions surrounding the hire and enabling of the Harricks and the contemptuous way he cut the kids on the basketball team loose after he could no longer hide from the fallout of the subsequent academic scandal they all created disqualifies him from being considered a worthy leader of the institution from which I claim a degree.
But of course we know that Adams lived a far from selfless existence as Georgia’s president. He was, at best, a very successful politician who led a university in a controversial way. Maybe that’s enough for him on which to rest his laurels.
For the rest of us, though, when it’s all said and done, I expect his legacy will be the eternal consideration of a basic question that many have asked for years: How does Adams still have a job?
UPDATE: This isn’t too surprising.
Here’s what Dooley said/read:
“First of all, I commend President Adams on his retirement, his service and his contributions to the University of Georgia. I do believe it is time for a change and I look forward to the Bulldog Nation uniting under new leadership in the near future.”
Hey, for a guy who until recently couldn’t stand the idea of a four-team D-1 football postseason, Jim Delany sure is full of ideas all of a sudden. Here’s his latest brainstorm:
Delany, who met with CBSSports.com and other reporters on Wednesday in Chicago, said one proposal being considered is the conference champion only model, but that the conference champion would have to be ranked among the top six teams in the country to qualify.
If a conference champion was among the top six in the rankings, it would automatically qualify for the four-team playoff. The top four ranked conference champions among the top six would qualify and if less than four conference champions were among the top six teams then the remaining spots would be filled by the highest ranked non-conference champions or an independent (Notre Dame, BYU, Army or Navy).
It’s a slightly less rigid approach than Larry Scott’s conference champs-only proposal (“because it increases the importance and value of winning their conference” – yeah, there’s a lot of value in winning Conference USA, Larry), but it’s still designed with the same primary goal in mind: keeping two SEC teams out of a four-team playoff as often as possible.
Oh well, as long as they’re settling it on the field.
UPDATE: Major swing and whiff by this dude.
… Delaney’s preferred method is clearly just a way of making sure his increasingly irrelevant conference has a team that qualifies for the playoff, while minimizing the number of SEC teams that can make it each year.
Then there’s Delaney’s fellow Rose Bowl mate, Pac-12 conference commissioner Larry Scott, who prefers something even dumber: ONLY conference champions be considered in a four-team playoff.
Like the outdated bowl system, giving conference champions preference or exclusivity in a college football playoff makes zero sense.
Both ideas are intended to maintain the “value” of college football’s regular season.
Not bothering to make an attempt to learn how to spell Jim Delany’s name properly is a good clue that you’re mailing it in, but I especially love the way he contradicts himself in the space of a mere four paragraphs.
You know, Dawg fans like to talk about how loaded Jim Donnan’s 2000 defensive team was. Maybe it’s time to start seeing Richt’s 2008 offensive squad in the same way.
Here’s the starting lineup for that Capital One Bowl and where they were drafted.SE Mohamed Massaquoi (second round) SE Kris Durham (fourth round) LT Clint Boling (fourth round) LG Cordy Glenn (second round) C Ben Jones (fourth round) RG Chris Davis RT Josh Davis QB Matthew Stafford (first round) TB Knowshon Moreno (first round) FLK A.J. Green (first round) FLK Michael Moore
That’s three first-round draft picks, two second-round picks, and three fourth-round selections. That doesn’t include two seventh-round picks–fullback Shaun Chapas (six starts) and Anderson (eight starts) who did not start the bowl game.
Both teams have lost opportunities in common. For the 2008 Dawgs, it’s pretty apparent what the Achilles heel was.
That Georgia team finished first in the SEC in passing offense, second in total offense and third in scoring offense, but finished 10-3, giving up 41 or more points in losses to Alabama (41-30), Florida (49-10) and Georgia Tech (45-42).
That defense wasn’t untalented – Weiszer notes that twelve players on it were drafted by NFL teams – but it was a huge disappointment. Two seasons later (and at least one season too late), Richt was forced to clean house with his defensive staff. But at least several of his kids from that team are earning decent livings today.